David Rockwell (born 1956) is an American architect and designer. He is the founder and president of Rockwell Group, a 250-person cross-disciplinary architecture and design practice based in New York City with a satellite office in Madrid.
Early life and education
Rockwell grew up in a theater family. His mother, a vaudeville dancer and choreographer, often cast him in community repertory productions. When he was 12, David's family moved from Deal, New Jersey to Guadalajara, Mexico. Rockwell trained in architecture at Syracuse University and the Architectural Association in London.
Rockwell founded Rockwell Group in 1984.
Rockwell currently serves as Chair Emeritus of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) and as a board member of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, Citymeals-on-Wheels, and New York Restoration Project. Rockwell also conceived and developed Imagination Playground pro-bono, a play space designed to encourage children to work together to create their own worlds of play. After five years of research on children and play, the first site-specific location opened in collaboration with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation at Burling Slip in Manhattan in 2010. Rockwell Group developed portable, scalable models that can transform smaller, unused areas into play spaces. Through the U.N.I.C.E.F. P.L.A.Y. Project, in partnership with Disney, the blocks have been distributed to more than 13,000 children in Bangladesh and Haiti.
Rockwell's honors include the 2016 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design for the musical She Loves Me and six Tony Award nominations for Best Scenic Design, the AIA New York Chapter President's Award; the 2008 National Design Award by the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for outstanding achievement in Interior Design; the 2009 Pratt Legends Award; the Presidential Design Award for his renovation of the Grand Central Terminal; induction into the James Beard Foundation Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America and Interior Design magazine's Hall of Fame; inclusion in Architectural Digest's AD 100; and the 2016 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical for She Loves Me and five Drama Desk Award nominations for Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical. Rockwell Group was named by Fast Company in 2008, 2014 and 2015 as one of the most innovative design practices in their annual World's 50 Most Innovative Companies issue. Rockwell is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
Select design projects
- Chefs Club by Food & Wine, New York
- Gordon Ramsay's Maze (London)
- Maialino, New York
- Nobu restaurants worldwide, including New York, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Doha, Melbourne and Dubai
- Aloft hotels (Starwood Hotels & Resorts)
- Andaz Maui at Wailea, Hawaii
- The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
- Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
- Nobu Hotel Eden Roc Miami Beach
- W Hotels New York, Union Square, Vieques, Paris, Singapore, and Madrid
- Hall of Fragments, the entrance installation to the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale
- Walt Disney Family Museum
- The Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta
- Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center, Lincoln Center
- The Shed (Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Leader Architect, and Rockwell Group, Collaborating Architect)
- 15 Hudson Yards in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro
- TED Theater, Vancouver
- Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards ceremony (Los Angeles)
- The Marketplace at the JetBlue terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport
- NeueHouse, New York, Los Angeles
- Imagination Playground
- Moxy Chelsea
- The New York EDITION
- Rockwell Unscripted for Knoll
- Union Square Cafe
- Sky (skyscraper)
- NEMA (Chicago)
- Hayes Theater
- The Rocky Horror Show
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- All Shook Up
- Legally Blonde
- Team America: World Police (2004, film)
- The 81st Annual Academy Awards (2009)
- The 82nd Annual Academy Awards (2010)
- The Normal Heart
- Catch Me If You Can
- Kinky Boots
- Lucky Guy
- You Can't Take It with You
- Side Show
- On The Twentieth Century
- She Loves Me
- On Your Feet!
- Lobby Hero
- Pretty Woman
- Pleasure: The Architecture and Design of Rockwell Group, Universe, a division of Rizzoli Books, 2002.
- David Rockwell with Bruce Mau, Spectacle, Phaidon Press, 2006. Examines the history and public fascination with larger-than-life man-made events.
- What If...?: The Architecture and Design of David Rockwell, Metropolis Books, 2014.